CRJ Presentation Night a huge success
Local Department of Social Development chief Jerome Burns said this week that a diverse group of trainees awarded certificates in Restorative Justice “augers well for the future of the city”.
Sinn Féin MLA, Mickey Brady and the city’s Deputy Mayor Packie McDonald were also at the event where 23 local people were awarded their accreditation for completing a course in Restorative Justice.
The course was organised by the Safer Stronger Communities project which was set up by Community Restorative Justice Ireland with support from DSD through the Neighbourhood Renewal Partnership. The ten-week course was held earlier this year in Ballybot House.
Elizabeth Kimmins, coordinator of Safer Stronger Communities said the training had been a huge success in building understanding of restorative responses to crime and anti-social behaviour.
“The course was a great learning experience for all involved,” said Elizabeth. “The CRJI approach is about tackling the underlying causes of crime and anti-community behaviour.
“We do this to empower and involve victims in the restorative process and to make offenders aware of the consequences of their behavior and how the harm done can be repaired.”
Several pupils from St Mary’s High School in the city took part in the training. Maurice Fitzpatrick, the Sixth Form Head of Studies said it was a great experience for the students.
“This was a fantastic opportunity for the students in St Mary’s,” said Maurice. “It has enabled them to develop essential life skills which will prepare them for adult and working life.”
Kathleen Magee of Newry and Mourne District Council said she enjoyed the course, especially the interaction with young people. “The inclusion of young people on this programme was very valuable and it was good to hear feedback from them on community issues.
“The course was easy to understand and follow and I learned a lot which I can use in the community and in my work.”
Three members of the PSNI’s Neighbourhood Policing Team also took part in the course. Inspector Davy Hutchinson said it was a great opportunity to understand restorative justice from the community’s point of view.
“Officers enjoyed the training, which included members of the community and some local students.” Hutchinson said. “I found the training to be very informative and enjoyable. The whole process allows those taking part to appreciate the informal and formal aspects of the criminal justice system.
He added, “The officers and I were able to deliver some insight into the work we do as well as understanding the benefits of communities working together to resolve issues restoratively.”
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